Retailers across Sydney have been targeted in a recent crackdown on the illegal sale of nicotine e-cigarettes.
Last week, between 29 January and 2 February, NSW Health inspectors and NSW Police officers, working with officers from the Therapeutic Goods Administration conducted 60 raids across the city of Sydney and southeast Sydney.
The recent raids seized 30,000 nicotine e-cigarettes, 118,000 cigarettes, 45kg of flavoured and loose-leaf tobacco and 284 containers of nicotine pouches worth with an estimated street value of over $1.1 million. This brings the total estimated street value of seized illegal vaping and tobacco products across NSW, since 1 July 2020 to more than $31.6 million.
“The NSW government committed $6.8 million over three years in the budget to invest in a crackdown on the sale of illegal vapes and increase support for young people who are addicted to vaping. We are delivering on that commitment,” says NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park.
Vaping products containing nicotine are only available when prescribed by a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner and can only be legally dispensed from a pharmacy in Australia with a valid prescription.
For all other retailers in NSW, the sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal. The maximum penalty for illegally selling them is $1650 per offence, six months in prison or both, under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966.
Retailers and individuals can also be prosecuted for selling e-cigarette products to minors, with maximum penalties:
- For individuals, up to $11,000 for a first offence, and up to $55,000 for a second or subsequent offence.
- For corporations, up to $55,000 for a first offence, and up to $110,000 for a second or subsequent offence.
“Once the vaping reforms are fully implemented later this year, tobacconists, vape shops and convenience stores will no longer be able to lawfully sell any type of vape,” says the NSW government. “It’s important that retailers take action now to minimise financial losses and ensure they comply with the new rules.”